Affordable Lettings Facing Threat in London

A recent piece by Eric Leach, Vice Chair of West Ealing Neighbours raised some apprehensions on the housing situation in Ealing with a dismal scenario being painted in the future.

According to Eric Leach, the recent research at the School of Medicine, London had stated that besides smoking, other main sources of avoidable illness and premature death are overcrowding, homelessness, poor housing and insecurity about housing.
This shows how life threatening can be the issue of homelessness. In London, the number of rough sleepers has been already up. There is an annual increase of 6 percent since 2002. Shockingly the life expectancy of rough sleepers is 42 years.

Council Housing Out

An insight into the UK’s retreat from homes for the poor known as Council Housing will be ideal. It was the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who began the phasing out of Council House building in 1979 by allowing Council House tenants to buy their homes and that depleted the stock of homes for the poor. Successive Governments continued this policy. As of now there are three working definitions on housing stock for households not met by the market.

Affordable Housing – Affordable Housing comprising Social Rented Housing and Intermediate Affordable Housing.
Social Rented Housing – Owned and managed by local authorities and Registered Social Landlords rented out at below market rates determined by the national rent regime.

Intermediate Affordable Housing – Housing at prices and rents above the Social Rented Housing yet below the market prices and rents.

Government Proposals

For rentals London the body blow is that 65 percent of the Government budget for Social Home building has been cut. It has now asked the poor to fund the building of new social housing. Rents on Social Rented Homes increased from 40 percent of market rates to 80 percent of market rates. The cash from increased rents is being used to fund the building of new social housing.

London House Starts

This is the data on new housing starts. Social Rented Home building starts in London:

  • 2010-11: 2,000 units (estimate)
  • 2011-12: 2,000 units (estimate)
  • 2012-13: 0 units (estimate)
  • 2013-14: 0 units (estimate)

These numbers are pretty scary and unintelligible too.

Outcome for Ealing

Now the prospect of some people and families in central London boroughs moving to cheaper boroughs including Ealing is too obvious. Similarly people in Ealing may have to shift to cheaper boroughs of the west, north and south.

It is clear that the number of new socially rented homes built over the next few years will be negligible. For example, in the recently approved Planning Application for Westel House in Ealing centre only 33 Affordable Rent units have been planned against a total of 225 private sale flats and hotel rooms to be built.


In the much touted planned housing development in Southall Gas Works, only 1,125 Affordable Rent housing units have been identified over the next ten years. Nobody knows how many of these 1000 odd housing units will be Social Rental Homes. Also no clue is available on how the 4,200 new stocks of Social Rented Homes or the 7,000 New Affordable Homes will be built in Ealing by 2026.

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